Horton rues ‘ too soft’ approach after Sun shines
A U S T R A L I A ’ S O l y m p i c champion Mack Horton berated himself for being “too soft’’ after his archrival, China’s Sun Yang, took his revenge by claiming the world 400m freestyle title in Budapest yesterday.
Sun retained his world crown in 3min41.38sec, fractionally faster than Horton’s winning time at last year’s Olympics, and then celebrated as if he had won both gold medals.
Horton claimed the silver medal in 3min43.85sec, his first world championships medal in this event. But he vowed to make amends in his approach to his other races this week.
“I was too soft at the start and as soon as I saw Craig ( Jackson, his coach) we both agreed that that was the problem,’’ he said.
“I think I needed to be a bit harder on myself, but it’s the start of the ( Olympic) cycle, I can work on that. I’m definitely going to be on now ( for the rest of the week).’’
Horton, 21, is tackling the biggest program of his international career in Budapest, combining the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle and he is particularly keen to challenge the Olympic 1500m champion Gregorio Paltrinieri in the longest pool event.
He brushed off his defeat at the hands of Sun, who he described as a drug cheat at last year’s Olympics, saying his slow time stung more than his placing.
“I thought I could swim a lot faster tonight, I thought I was capable of more tonight, but it’s the start of the next cycle and this is what I have to work on and improve on for the next couple of years towards Tokyo.’’
There is no love lost between Horton and Sun after a series of incidents in Rio. It began with an altercation in the warm- up pool in Rio, where defending champion Sun tried to intimidate the younger Australian.